We love presidential election year in the USA, but this year it is especially rewarding for all election freaks with the universal excitement/horror at the elevation of Donald Trump to current front runner in the Republican stakes.
As we have opined as recently as yesterday, the Trump phenomenon is really not new – we have seen it all before – although never with such a marked disrespect from any major candidate for either facts, analysis, talent, civility, truthfulness or knowledge.
The hard fact that everyone has to bite down on is that Trump is, in truth, a classic fascist populist – an “anti politics politician” – and whilst that may play well with the disenchanted and ignorant, and it is also evidenced in election results elsewhere in the world – it is extremely dangerous for the fabric of democracy and the civil good.
He is the end product of a country that has dumbed down its civil discourse to a level far below where it has ever been before, and where “entertainment” is now generally little more than the endlessly mindless repetition of idiotic reality TV shows and celebrity-for-celebrity’s-sake. Cheap, stupid pap. Donald Trump is the archetypal candidate for a society where cheap, stupid pap is the new normal.
Yet despite our distaste for what he represents, we see him, essentially, as a paper man – simply incapable of winning a general election. (Mind you, they said the same about Hitler.)
And sure, those who adore him (or the mindless celebrity and nihilism he represents) are merely further driven to greater ecstasies of pleasure when he is attacked and exposed.
But attacked and exposed he is, and frequently it is not the organised political establishment that is rearing up – although belatedly it now is – but rather it is social media that is doing the attacking.
Social media – the rise and rise of interested or concerned individuals expressing their opinions directly to other individuals, singly, in the tens or hundreds, or sometimes in the thousands and even millions – is the great leveller in this election, and, we suspect, all future elections, everywhere. It talks to everyone, not just ironed on supporters of one party or another, and thus its reach is impressive and significant.
Here are a few of favourites from today. We are looking forward to the GOP debate later to see just how vitriolic the Republican mutual slaughter will become. We suspect, very bloody indeed. As we have said to supporters of the right in America for years, “be careful what you wish for”. Well, this is what you wished for.
Pass the popcorn.